Heavy Rain Lashes Parts of Himachal Pradesh, Triggers Landslides and Floods

Parts of Himachal Pradesh have witnessed heavy rain for the past few days, causing landslides, floods, and waterlogging in several areas. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued an orange alert for the state, indicating heavy to very heavy rainfall at isolated places. The rain has disrupted everyday life and movement of people and damaged public properties and crops.

Death Toll Rises to Five, 15 Missing: According to Chief Minister Jairam Thakur, five deaths have been reported in the state during the last 24 hours and about 15 people have been missing. The district administrations have been directed to ensure relief, rescue, and rehabilitation works in the rain-affected areas.

Some of the incidents that led to casualties include a cloudburst in the Dharampur area of Mandi district, which killed two people and injured four others; a landslide in Chamba district, which killed one person and wounded three others; a house collapse in Kangra district, which killed one person; and a drowning incident in Hamirpur district, which killed one person.

Over 100 Roads Closed, Railway Bridge Damaged: The heavy rain has also resulted in the closure of over 100 roads across the state due to landslides and debris. Some major roads that have been closed include Kullu-Sainj Road, Mandi-Kullu Road, Shimla-Rampur Road, and Chamba-Bharmour Road. The authorities have advised people to avoid traveling on these roads until they are cleared.

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The rain has also damaged a railway bridge on the Chakki River in the Kangra district, leading to the suspension of train services on the Pathankot-Jogindernagar section. The bridge collapsed on Sunday morning due to a flash flood in the river. The water level in the river is yet to recede.

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Schools to Remain Shut, Tourists Stranded: Given the torrential rains and the meteorological warnings, the state government has ordered the closure of all schools on Monday. Earlier, some districts like Mandi, Chamba, and Kangra had also announced the closure of schools on Saturday. The decision was taken to ensure the safety of students and staff amid adverse weather conditions.

The rain has also affected the tourism sector in the state, as several tourists have been stranded due to roadblocks and landslides. Some tourists were also seen enjoying the rain and clicking pictures at various places like Manali and Shimla. However, they were advised to follow the weather updates and take precautions while traveling.

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Relief and Rescue Operations Underway: The state government has deployed the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) teams to carry out relief and rescue operations in the affected areas. The teams have rescued people stuck or trapped due to landslides or floods. They have also provided the needy with food, water, and medical aid.

The chief minister has also announced an ex-gratia of Rs 4 lakh each to the next of kin of those who died due to natural calamities. He has also instructed the officials to assess the loss of life and property due to the rain and submit a report at the earliest.

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